Words of encouragement can have a profound effect on every person, bringing strength to a heart that has grown weary, impatient, or frustrated with many types of circumstances. God has set the precedence for Christian character and early in the story of man-kind, God used encouraging words and actions to motivate His people to stay the course and follow Him. And, throughout scripture, we see that the Lord God has used many different avenues in furnishing encouragement - from visions, to scripture, to prophecies, to using Christians in exhorting one another, forming brotherly and sisterly love. The very idea of sharing a kind or encouraging word with another may seem simple and not a likely topic for study or discussion. But, when taking a close look at scripture we find the importance of reflecting the character of God in every way, which includes utilizing the tool of inspiring others to take courage.
The Bible itself is a wonderful tool which inspires courage. The stories of the Old Testament and the parables found in the New Testament are written to encourage the children of God who are living in a fallen world. In the book of Peter, the writer records that believers in Christ are considered strangers who live in a world foreign to the ways of God. Likewise, the Israelites entered into a new land beyond the Jordan River and were to live their lives quite differently than the current inhabitants. God used words of encouragement to spur the nation of Israel onward and the Lord offers believers today the same support, as we dwell in land that opposes our every value. God Almighty is not only our Creator, Commander and Chief, and Savior; He is also our cheerleader. "Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." (Joshua 1:9)
Throughout Scripture, God also shares words of comfort, inspiration, and love to give those who follow Him the courage to face not only daily obstacles, but life changing events, as well. And, there are times when the Lord also uses prophecy to warn about coming judgements in a way of discouraging certain behaviors. For most every discouraging situation, the Lord has beautifully penned words of encouragement. "Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruits of his doings." (Isaiah 32:19) And, the Lord promises to handle every situation with the gentlest of care. "He shall feed the flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young" (Isaiah 40:11) Visit our Bible resources section where there are many related topics such as love, faith, prayer and thanksgiving.
The Psalms have served to be a great source of comfort and strength for the Lord's people for many generations. The authors of these beautiful writings recorded God's encouragement in their own lives. When the Psalmist was faced with persecution, he wrote, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." When the Psalmist needed protecting he penned, "From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from my enemy." (Psalm 61:2-3)
Not only has the Lord equipped us with the Holy Spirit as a form of encouragement, but He has also put the promises of His faithful character in writing, giving us access to inspiration at any time of day. As we seek to follow after our Lord, we discover that encouraging one another is a form of sharing God's love and supportive nature. Many scriptures admonish both Israel and new believers to speak words of comfort and inspiration to one another. God told Moses to encourage Joshua in leading Israel into the Promised Land, and Paul teaches to exhort and lift one another up, which will lead to good works on behalf of the one receiving the words of encouragement.
A specific scripture found in Ephesians, chapter four, explains in summation the importance that our words can have on others, whether good or bad. The tongue is a powerful tool and can be used in furthering God's Kingdom and reflecting God's character, or for destroying good works and bringing scorn upon the Lord's reputation. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto hearers." (Ephesians 4:29)
Words of WisdomWords of wisdom was the greatest gift to ask for thousands of years ago and it remains one of the greatest gifts today. King Solomon, King of Israel and the king who succeeded King David for the throne, asked the Lord for the gift of discernment and the ability to judge God's people righteously. The Lord had come to King Solomon in a dream and told Solomon that he could ask for anything, and Solomon asked for this type of insight. "In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, "Ask what I shall give thee'. And Solomon said, "...and now, O Lord my God, thou has made thy servant king instead of David, my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. ... Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?" (1 Kings 3:5,7,9) These were truly words of insight on Solomon's part.
God calls people to seek insight so that we may be able to discern, just as Solomon did thousands of years ago, between good and bad, and to judge correctly. The lesson for us all in the story of Solomon is to speak the same words and asked the Lord to grace us with understanding. Solomon's words of wisdom proved to be pleasing to the Lord because in 1 Kings 3:10, anyone can read that the Lord was pleased with Solomon's speech of humility. God blessed Solomon with the insight he asked for, but in God's abundant mercy and strategic ways, He also blessed Solomon with many other blessings as well. "Behold, I have done according to thy words, lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given unto thee that which thou hast not asked for, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days." (1 Kings 3:12-13)
Take a look into the other key scriptures that address "what is wisdom?" and find out more about the definition. Looking at Proverbs 1:2-7, King Solomon writes a discourse on words of wisdom. "To give subtly to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear, and will increase in learning: and a man of understanding will attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise and their dark sayings."(Proverbs 1:3-6) Here Solomon is expressing himself by explaining to the reader what it does or looks like when utilized, but in verse 7, Solomon uses great descriptions and reveals the definition of wisdom to the reader: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Solomon has just told us that to have a reverence and respect for God is to begin the journey of finding astuteness. Click the Bible Resources link, for more information on topics like wisdom.
It's true that God instantly blessed Solomon, and He promises to give all children the gifts that they ask for that are within His will, but insight will take more effort than a simple expectation. The definition of wisdom is hard to give concrete details of, but Proverbs does a great job. In Proverbs 2, Solomon continues to teach about the action involved with seeking this from the Lord. "Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding, if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2:3-5) After reading this and evaluating "what is wisdom?", a person can gain the trust and faith in God to study more on the subject. God calls people to seek His wise counsel through the word. If anyone is asking themselves "what is wisdom?" that person needs to look no further than the Bible. With patience, study, and prayer the answers will come. These amazing accounts are not the only place where we see God teaching us that words of wisdom are pleasing and important to Him.
In the New Testament book of James, James gives the new believers living outside of Palestine a look into what is wisdom and how it applies to their lives. "Who is a wise man among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness in wisdom." (James 3:13) James explains that this often looks like humility and meekness. He also tells readers that bitterness, envy, and lies are earthly knowledge, while the insight from above is "...first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (James 3:17) James teaches the readers that love and patience intricately woven with knowledge will result in understanding. Full of teachings about words of wisdom, the bible offers an opportunity for anyone can glean from scripture that the role knowledge plays in our purpose and in our destinies is substantial.
To seek knowledge, to cry out to God for understanding, and to study and learn as much about the Word of God as possible in order to pursue a blessing for the soul that can satisfy like no material blessing can compare to. And, to find the insight described above would be to experience the abundant fruit of the labors of those who seek it. James finishes teaching with a simple statement that promises a jeweled result of using God's word. "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James 3:18) To walk in knowledge ultimately allows anyone to experience peace.